edited by Robin McKinley
This the second time I've read this anthology. Oddly enough, I think I liked it more this time around. There were still a few stories I wasn't as wild about. But "Flight" by Peter Dickinson, "The Old Woman and the Storm" by Patricia McKillip, and "The Stone Fey" by Robin McKinley herself were all, in my opinion, excellent. They were also, interestingly enough, the stories which I felt best fulfilled the stated mission of the book: "the stories...must have a particularly strong sense of location, of the imaginary land each was laid in."
Having just read Fire and Hemlock
, Joan Vinge's "Tam Lin" provided an interesting counterpoint. Fire and Hemlock
is still my favorite (although Elizabeth Marie Pope's The Perilous Gard
comes in at a very close second). It may have something to do with the length--book length lets Diana Wynne Jones build up her characters much more effectively. But I think it's mostly that I prefer Fire and Hemlock's
conclusion. While both are somewhat bittersweet--something lost and something gained--Fire and Hemlock
felt both more real and more hopeful to me.
"Stranger Blood" by P.C. Hodgell was another of my favorites. Again, there was a strong sense of the land and culture as something both distinct and real.
All in all, I'd definitely recommend this anthology if you enjoy reading fantasy, especially fantasy set in a specific location.
Book source: Southern Oregon University library